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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 6, 2013 5:30pm-6:31pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: the u.s. government has secretly collected a massive log of phone records from millions of americans, part of an ongoing counter-terrorism effort. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we get two views of the national security agency's phone tracking program, which has sparked a debate over privacy versus security threats. >> brown: then, margaret warner has another on-the-ground report from beirut, on the increased role of lebanon's hezbollah in the syrian civil war. >> woodruff: as congress
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considers cutting the food stamp program, we debate the potential impact on the roughly 46 million americans who receive assistance from it. >> brown: paul solman has the second of two takes on policy- making in times of economic crisis. tonight, he talks to nobel- prize-winning economist paul krugman. >> it's all very easy now, now that it turned out that we did not have a collapse in the auto industry to say, oh well everything would have been fine if we did nothing, but that's certainly not the way it looked we did need to act and it's a good thing we did. >> woodruff: and on this anniversary of d-day ray suarez talks to author rick atkinson, whose new book chronicles the hard road to victory for allied forces in world war two. >> the horror of it is difficult to imagine some 70 years later and continued until almost the last gun shot. >> brown: that's all ahead. on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: it's highly secret and far-reaching, and it's been going on for years. it is an enormous database of calls amassed by the national security agency and made public today. the revelation came first in the "guardian" newspaper in london. it reported the "foreign intelligence surveillance court
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has authorized the n.s.a. to monitor millions of domestic and international calls by verizon customers." in washington, attorney general eric holder declined to go into detail, at a senate hearing. >> without saying anything specific, i will say this, with re to meers of congress have been fully briefed as these issues, matters have been underway. >> brown: later, a white house spokesman defended the program. and, he said the government is not allowed to listen in on the phone calls. instead, under the court order, the n.s.a. logs what's known as "metadata"-- call location, duration, and numbers dialed-- but not the subscriber's identities or the content of a call. for the most part, lawmakers from both parties seemed untroubled today by the agency's activities. republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina spoke at the holder hearing.
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>> i'm a verizon customer. it doesn't bother me one bit for the national security administration to have my phone number. because what they're trying to do is find out what terrorist groups we know about and individuals and who the hell they're calling. the consequences taking these tools away from the american people through their government would be catastrophic. >> brown: other senators confirmed the n.s.a. has been building a massive database of calls to look for suspicious patterns since 2006, under "the patriot act." democrat dianne feinstein, chairing the senate intelligence committee, said the records are collected, but not reviewed unless there's a good reason. >> if through another way information comes to the f.b.i. that there is reasonable suspicion that a terrorist act, conspiracy, planning, carrying out is going on, they can access those records. the records are there to access.
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>> brown: but at least one senator democrat ron wyden of oregon raised a concern in a statement, saying, "i believe that when law-abiding citizens call their friends, who they call, when they call and where they call from is private information." it was first reported in 2006, that the bush administration was wiretapping e-mails and phone calls worldwide in the hunt for terror suspects. at the time, then-senator obama said it was a slippery slope. house speaker john boehner said today it's now up to president obama to explain how critical the program is. >> it's important for president to outline to the american people why the tools that he has available to him are critical to the threats that we may... that we may have. >> brown: for their part, verizon and other major carriers declined to comment today. late today the "washington post" reported the n.s.a. and the f.b.i. are tapping directly into
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servers for nine of the country's leading internet companies, gathering audio, video, photographs, e-mails, and other personal information under a highly classified program. and we pick up the debate now, with kate martin, director of the center for national security studies, a civil liberties advocacy group. and col. cedric leighton had a 26-year career in the air force and served as deputy training director for the national security agency in 2009 and 2010. he now has his own consulting firm. welcome to both of you. kate martin, let me start with you. one reaction today we heard was, "what's new? what's the big deal?" this is a routine renewal of an order. you had a different reaction? >> well, i was astoundedded, first of all, to learn for the first time, that the government thinks the law allows this. and even more asounded to learn that they were doing it. we've engaged in debates in this country about changes to this
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law for the last 12 years. the civil liberties community has continually raised concerns about bulk collection, and basically, been told that it's not a problem. and it turns out, that the bulk collection that's going on appears to be beyond our wildest fears. >> brown: all right, lead me ask cedric leighton, this bulk collection, metadata. explain it a little bit more and why you think it's okay and not an invasion of privacy? >> it depends on how it's done, actually, jeff. the basic idea about bulk collection sutake all of the data you can possibly gather and look for the indicators that you are-- you need. so, for example, let's say you want to find somebody who is connected with somebody in chechnya because of the boston bomb ago we'll use that as an example-- you look at how their phone calls work. you look at how they talk to people, where they talk to them, had they talk to them, and which people they talk to. once vut connection to, let's say, chechnya, you look at how
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that person interfaces with people in the united states and if people in the united states are part of a network, a terrorist network, or just innocent people part of a friend's network that has no knowledge of any other efforts that are going on. >> brown: in fact, kate martin, the house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers today said-- and i want to quote this-- "this n.s.a. program helped stop a significant terror attack in the u.s. in the last few years." he didn't give any more information than that. that's all we know. >> right, and i think that that's not the point at the moment. the question, of course, is whether or not a lesser intrusive program would also stop terrorist attacks. we all want that to happen. and the first question is wroo the government's going to come clean, first of all, about whether it thinks it has the legal power to do, and second of all, what it's doing. you know, so they've basically been keeping this a secret, and
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instead of, you know, saying, "oh, gosh. maybe we need to have a public debate about the contours of the program, whether or not the program's really needed," et cetera, they've jumped to, "oh, well the program's been useful." but that's not the criteria. the criteria is whether or not the program's lawful, and it's lawful only, in my judgment, if the congress and the american people have understood that the law allows it. and congress, apparently, thinks that they understood it. they forgot to tell us. >> brown: well, let me-- colonel leighton, one of the questions here is sort of how clear the law is, right? i mean, in deciding when the collection of data is allowed, how well defined is this idea of relevancy to important security data. is that clear? >> well, it's-- you know, when you look at how the law is written, it is not exactly explicitly clear. so for example kate and i can have a debate on the issue, on the merits of the law, but the
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issue for an intelligence agency is how do i, as an intelligence agency, look at the data that is available to me and what kind of data should be made available to me. so the intelligence agencies look to the executive leadership in the white house, and then the legislative leadership in congress, and in these particular cases, congress has been briefed on the program, on the nature of the program, and to some degree, on the extent of the program. >> brown: but they're looking to a judge, ultimately, who has to make the-- has the opinion that this is, in fact, relevant enough. >> that's right. and the judge has to make the determination in the case of the fisa courts, the foreign intelligence courts, they are designed to work in a classified arena, and they take the arguments from nsay, or another intelligence agency and say, "okay, is this relevant to national security? is there a clear and present danger to us right now that requires this kind of action?"
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if there is not, they should reject the notion. if there is, then they accept it, and that's how they operate. >> brown: kate martin, respond to that. where is the weak link, if you think there is one? >> i think the first question we don't know is what is the government doing? does it consider that it's relevant to collect not only all of our metadata on all of our phone calls and our internet communications, but also other kinds of records -- bank records, credit card records-- in the government's views those aren't protect bide the 4th amendment. so it has a giant database which i vaguely heard today that maybe before-- they had some more procedures, right, about how they use that database. that's all secret. so we don't know what it is that they're collecting, the breadth of what they're collecting, nor do we know what the rules are about using it. and, you know, my view of the
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constitution is that the basic purpose of the 4th amendment was to prevent general searches, which meant that the government goes in to your house, takes everything, and looks through it to see if there's evidence of a crime or terrorism. and i worry that what it seems like,@but we need to know because we don't know and we've been denied the information-- that what the government's approach at the moment is, "we'll construct this enormous database on all americans' activities." >> brown: let me ask cedric leighton to respond to that. is there a way for the government to be clearer about what it's collecting and still do its work? >> i think so, and i think we have to be very careful with it. i think kate brought up an interesting point, an slbt point-- excellent point in that they have not been clear about how they handled the data and some of the issues surrounding
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it to this point have been classified. but there are ways to say, okay, this is the data we're collecting in general terms, and our way of handling that data is as follows-- for example, there are rules that govern how we deal with data from u.s. persons. nsa has some very specific rules, man of which are classified. but the gist of them is no one can gather data on u.s. persons without the express permissionave court, and that is part of that. that's the beginning of this approach where we have to be very careful with how we make this work. >> brown: very briefly, now we have the "washington post" reports about the internet. would it surprise to you find other phone companies may have been involved with this at all? >> not at all. i think it's logical-- >> brown: you're expecting to hear more. >> yes >> and just to be clear, the express permissionave court is not equal to a 4th amendment warrant. there was no 4th amendment warrant type order in this case, and it's really disturbing that we had to learn about this through a leaked document rather
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than-- >> brown: okay, we will continue to follow this. kate martin, cedric leighton, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": margaret warner in lebanon; the fight over food stamps; paul krugman on the government's role in economic crisis and a new book on the path to victory in world war two. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: a top official at the i.r.s. apologized today for a 2010 conference that cost more than $4 million. faris fink told a house hearing his division followed rules in place at the time, but he acknowledged nonetheless the spending was excessive. some of it paid for videos shown at today's hearing. one was a "star trek" parody which drew this from new york democrat carolyn maloney. >> not only was it a monumental waste of well over $50,000 of taxpayers' money, but i would say it is an insult to the memory of "star trek". i could do a better captain kirk.
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but i think i recognized one of the panelists in the video. mr. fink, were you mr. spock in that video? yes, that is correct. >> holman: an inspector general's report found the i.r.s. spent nearly $50 million on 225 conferences over two years. fink said today new rules now put much lower limits on training and travel expenses. senate democrats and republicans blocked each other's proposals today to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. republicans wanted to tie rates on federally subsidized stafford loans to ten-year treasury notes, meaning they would rise as the economy gains. democrats sought to extend the current 3.4% rate for the next two years. barring congressional action, the rate goes to 6.8% on july first. new jersey governor chris christie has named his state attorney general, jeff chiesa, as interim u.s. senator.
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he succeeds long-serving democrat frank lautenberg, who died earlier this week. christie said today the new senator will serve just four months, and will not be a candidate in an october special election. >> i made him the offer, as i told you, he texted me the next morning and said i'm in. i called him and said great. and i said now are you going to run for it. and he said i have no interest in being a political candidate. fine with me, jeff. if you don't want to run, that's fine. >> holman: chiesa will be the first republican to represent new jersey in the senate since 1982. the first system to reach storm strength and earn a name this atlantic hurricane season pushed onto florida's gulf coast today. tropical storm andrea took aim at the state's big bend region, with heavy rain and winds of 60 miles an hour. it was headed for georgia and the carolinas. the storm is not expected to strengthen into a hurricane.
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rescue crews in philadelphia finished searching a collapsed building today, as an investigation began into how it happened. six people died yesterday when the four-story structure fell as it was being demolished. mayor michael nutter faced questions today about problems at the site and the contractor's history of legal and financial trouble. >> something obviously went wrong here yesterday and possibly in the days leading up to it that's what the investigation is for, but the simply answer to your question is we have demolishings all the time with active buildings next to them and they're done very safely in this city all the time. >> holman: the building fell onto a neighboring salvation army thrift store. in addition to those killed, at least 13 people were hurt. in turkey, protesters again defied prime minister recep tayyip erdogan. thousands marched in istanbul, jeering and carrying signs demanding erdogan's resignation. they vowed to keep up the
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demonstrations that began a week ago. meanwhile, erdogan-- winding up a trip to north africa-- charged that terror groups are involved in the protests. on wall street, stocks broke a two-day losing streak. the dow jones industrial average gained 80 points to close at 15,040. the nasdaq rose 22 points to close at 3,424. swimming champion and movie star esther williams died today in los angeles. williams won several races in the 1939 national swimming championships, and then, moved to the movies in 1942. she starred in a number of aquatic musicals through the 1940s and '50s, and was a favorite pinup for g.i.s during world war two. at her death, esther williams was 91 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: next to syria, where rebels briefly seized control of the only border crossing with israel in the golan heights today, sending united nations staff in the area scrambling to shelters.
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austrian peacekeepers announced they'd withdraw their troops because of the violence. several hours later, president bashar al-assad's forces re-took the crossing. meanwhile, al-qaeda leader ayman al-zawahari urged syrians to unite against assad. and in lebanon there were more signs today that the conflict is spilling over there following the takeover of the syrian town of qusair by assad forces and hezbollah. margaret warner is in beirut and talked to ray suarez a short time ago. >> suarez: margaret, welcome. what's the reaction in lebanon to the victory of assad's forces in qusair over the free syrian army? >> warner: ray, the reaction's been large here because of the role that hezbollah fighters from lebanon played in the retaking of qusair, assisting the assad forces. there also has been an immediate security reaction here in lebanon-- that is, 11 rockets were fired overnight at the hezbollah stronghold in the
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valley. and today, syrian military plane, looks like a helicopter, fired rockets at a town in northern lebanon in the valley that's been a haven for free syrian army fighters, rebels, and refugees. that was of particular concern to western diplomatic officials here, what the syrian military did, because as one said to me, it shows that the syrian government doesn't feel any sense of restraint exwl exw more about crossing this border line to pursue its enemies inside lebanon. and finally, it has stirred up fears among people here who have their ear to the ground in terms of security situation, it is going to inflame sunnis here, and extremist sunnis may take their revenge on hezbollah and shias in general by attacking them here in lebanon. >> suarez: you've had the chance to speak to people close to both hezbollah and the syrian
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rebels. what's next for both sides in this conflict? >> warner: what i hear from someone very close to the f.s.a. general egres, there is many fighters trapped in susayer between government forces in the center of town and essentially a lot of hezbollah around. he said the main problem the f.s.a. realizes they have and have to solve is command and control, the forces they thought they collected from around the country for the rescue operation, most never got in. that's their situation. for hezbollah, i talked to someone, a former lebanese security and intelligence official, very close to-- talks to all the players, including the syrians, because of the syrian occupation here. he said he doubts that hezbollah will, as others have reported, move on to aleppo and other areas in syria. he said, "i don't believe they're going to move deep into syria. they're going to stay protecting the border around lebanon, protecting holy sites, shiite
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holy site, protecting their own supply routes and protect something lebanese who live inside syria." he said, "i would be surprised if they go on." that all remains to be seen. >> suarez: our margaret warner joining us from beirut. margaret, thanks a lot. >> warner: my pleasure, ray. >> woodruff: now, the debate over cutting food stamps. the senate agreed today to move forward with a vote next monday on a wide-ranging farm bill. more than three-quarters of the money for it-- or about $760 billion over ten years-- would go toward food stamps, now called the supplemental nutrition assistance program, or snap. snap has grown in the wake of the recession. roughly 47 million americans or about 15% of the population receive assistance from it. but now there's a push to cut back. the senate bill would trim it slightly by four billion over ten years.
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a version moving through the house would cut at least $20 billion, possibly more. we look at all this with lori silverbush, a filmmaker who produced the documentary "a place at the table," which explores hunger in the united states. and chris edwards, director of tax policy studies at the cato institute and editor of its website. welcome to you both. chris edwards, to you first. with millions of americans still unemployed, many of them still not earning, those who are employed, as much as they were average before, why is now the time to cut food stamps? >> well, i think we need to look at not just the food stamps but farm subsidies to cut. so i just wouldn't zero in on food stamps. there's a lot of cutting i think we need to do in this farm bill in general. >> woodruff: but the food stamps are the bulk of the farm bill. >> no, that's absolutely right. you look at the big picture, the cost of the food stamp program
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has roughly quadrupled over the last decades from about $20 million to about $80 billion today and the house republicans are thinking of cutting $2 billion of that. a couple of a percent. offer quadruple the size of a program, i think that's a reasonable cut, that small. >> woodruff: lori silverbush, what about this point that the program has grown so much why isn't it reasonable to begin to make some cuts now? >> well, i think it's interesting that you say that, chris. i mean, it's grown so much because demand has grown so much. it isn't growing because it's bloatd or not being administered well. there's that many people hungry who are availing themselves of it. so the word "reasonable" say funny word. what's a reasonable amount of hunger for your kids, for example? how many meals would you want your children not to eat in order to balance the budget? i think the word "reasonable" is deceptive. >> you know, the thing is, it's true that the recession and the economic slow-down has caused
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food stamp costs to increase. but the cost of the program roughly doubled under president bush, even before president obama came to office, just because congress and president bush expanded the eligibility so much. so that's part of the problem. and even now, the unemployment rate now is lower than when president obama first came to office, and yet there's millions more on food stamps. so the congress and the states have continued to loosen eligibility. so the food stamp program now is not just for the lowest income people. it's moving up into the middle class. >> woodruff: how do you respond to that? >> well, sure, chris. i mean, chris, you're making a very good point. members of the middle class are now going hungry and as a consequence they're signing up for food stamps ping it makes sens sens there would be a lag between food stamp people availing themselves of the program after being unemployed. i'm not an economist. i'm a filmmaker. i went around the country with my partner, christie jacobson, and we met the people you're talking about, the middle class
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people who i think you're trying to imply are gaming the system. we met people just trying to put food on the table and struggling, or out of work, or cobbling together part-time jobs without benefits. and not paying their rent so that they could buy food or not-- you know, going without medical care so they could buy food. i think all of the things you're saying are factual, sure, but you're not saying, well, the reason food stamp enrollment went up so much under president bush was because need went up so much. this is a program with very, very low rates of fraud. it's not being-- i don't think people are game the system at all, and we sure didn't find that. >> woodruff: how do you respond to that? >> well, one of the things that's happened is there used to be strict income and asset tests on the program. in other words, if your income was too high or you had a lot of money in the bank, you didn't get food stamps. those sorts of limits have been basically eliminated in most of the states now for this complicated reason called "categorical eligibility." but basically, the republicans
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have been trying to reestablish some income and asset tests so you can't have too much money or too much money in the bank and still get food stamps. there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence, for example, for example, groups of people, college students now often get food stamps and they never used to. so there's a growing sort of dependence here, and, you know, a lot of people who didn't used to even want to get food stamps are now being dependent on the government. >> woodruff: lori silverbush, what about this argument that the eligibility requirements have now grown looser so that they are now possibly scooping in people who-- who may not need food stamps? >> well, let's be really clear. those eligibility requirements are still incredibly-- the bar is very, very high to entrance to food stamps. as family of foor i think it's a total income of $28,000 a year for a family of four. that is not people who are living high on the hog. and the food stamp benefit itself comes down to
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approximately $1 a meal. it's not a lot of money. so i would-- my experience meeting the people who are for the first time availing themselves of food stamps is that they're doing it because of straight-up need. we didn't find that people were happy to collect food stamps. they were devastated, devastated, and humillated. >> woodruff: let me ask you about this, this question of changing the eligibility. what's the example of a requirement that could change that you believe would be fair? >> i'll give you an example. used to be people who were noncitizens were not eligible for food stamps. that's changeed in the 2002 farm bill under president bush. he made is so noncitizens, as soon as they come into the united states, they can get food stamps now. so that's tiech expansion and eligibility that has gone on. >> woodruff: so legal immigrants. >> yeah, legal immigrants didn't used to be eligible and now they are. >> woodruff: you're saying they should be off the food stamps? >> i'm saying we need to reduce the costs in a lot of different
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ways, as well as reducing the costs of farm subsidies, welfare-for-hire income people. >> chris, i think you kind of dodged that a bit, because she said, "does that mean you think people should be taken off the program?" yes, we should reduce costs across the board. we have ag subsidies not even on the table that people are collecting millions of farmers, industrial farms that have had record years of farming are still collecting food subsidies, willing to add tens of billions of dollars to our deficit. this is not even in discussion. and yet, we're always somehow at a point of-- a moment when our nation feels budget anxiety we always go right back to illegal immigrants and poor people who are fraudulent, when all of these things are myths. and frankly, if an undocumented person is feeding their children with food stamps so they have a shot at succeeding in school, i'm okay with that. >> i mean, lori, come on. when president bush came to office, there were only about 18 million people on food sphasms today, as your program
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mentioned, 47 until. so this i-- 47 million. it is this is not just more low-income people getting benefits. >> woodruff: what about hir other point, there is very little fraud. >> i don't think that is request. the official numbers from the u.s.d.a. say that. i don't think it's correct. for example, there are two had been,000 retailers in the united states who take these electronic cards to redeem food stamps. there's a lot of fraud at these retailers. >> woodruff: very quick response. >> honestly, we're not seeing that. the data is not supporting that. if anything the error rates are high because fire people are participating who are eligible and they're not participating because of the stigma of call it a fraudulent handout. if we feed people they can stay product and i have in the workforce. they can put their energy into their jobs and studying and raising their kids. those kids can stay in schools
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if they're eating and i think it's an important investment in our future. >> woodruff: we thank the both of you, lori silverbush chris edwards. >> thank you, judy. >> thank you, judy. >> brown: now to the continuing debate over the government's role in the economy and the decisions taken in the aftermath of the financial crisis. earlier this week we aired a conversation with david stockman, a businessman and former white house budget director whose book focused on the dangers of too much intervention. tonight, economics correspondent paul solman gets a different perspective part of his ongoing reporting, "making sense of financial news." >> reporter: we recently interviewed former reagan budget chief and private equity dealmaker david stockman. about his provocative best- seller, "the great deformation," in which he argues that americas economic system is busted. corrupted by debt, crony- capitalism, and government
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meddling. case in point: the bailouts during the crash of 2008. >> what we did was, made a mockery out of free markets and financial discipline and well never come back. >> reporter: but of course stockman's verdict has its share of critics, including the prodigiously well-read nobel prize-winning economist paul krugman. a "times" opinion piece by stockman drew several written retorts from "times" columnist krugman. in one he called stockman a cranky old man. we asked krugman to respond to stockman at some length, first to the idea that we should have let foundering financial firms simply fail in 2008. but that risked doomsday, krugman said. >> destroying the world is not something you want to do by mistake. unfortunately what we've learned from 150 plus years of history is that financial crisis left unmanaged, unfought, can produce mass suffering.
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i mean it's been pretty bad, but it could have been much, much worse than it was. >> reporter: is there, in david stockman's phrase, no economic basis for contagion, that is the dominoes where one institution goes and all the rest go? >> um, you see contagion everywhere. i mean the great banking crisis of 1930, 31 began with the failure of a quite small bank in new york. that these domino effects are very, very real. they partly run through the fact that people see a bank run down the street then they so they run the bank at this end of the street. they partly take place because in a banking panic everybody's trying to sell the same assets and all those assets collapse in price and so that companies that were not in financial trouble, all of a sudden are in financial trouble. >> reporter: stockman's argument for example with respect to the auto industry is yes we saved 40,000 jobs but those are 40,000 jobs that would have been added in the south by auto makers who
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were already there, foreign auto makers many of them, nissan, hyundai. >> it's not clear that allowing g.m. to go under would actually have opened up space for its competitors. it's all very easy now, now that it turned out that we did not have a collapse in the auto industry to say, oh well everything would have been fine if we did nothing, but that's certainly not the way it looked at the time and i think it wasn't in fact true. we did need to act and it's a good thing we did. >> reporter: but surely you're sympathetic to stockman's charge that crony capitalism is a major problem in this country? >> no question that there are a lot of companies, a lot of people who make their way not by having the best product or the best idea, but by having the right connections, the question is whether the solution to crony capitalism is to say let's have a depression that destroys everything. so that we don't bail out those fat cat bankers on wall street and i think that's not the answer. the answer is to regulate the bankers but at the same time save the workers.
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>> reporter: stockman, like many others, blames the federal reserve for inflating the housing bubble that caused the crisis in the first place by keeping interest rates too low too long. he says low interest rates are again fueling a speculative frenzy on wall street, enabling traders to bet with cheap borrowed money. krugman doesn't buy it. >> we had very low interest rates in the 1950s. did we have wild speculative bubbles, did we have crazy stuff, was all this happening? did we have wildly overpaid bankers? the answer is, no we didn't. the difference between now and then is not that the fed has cut interest rates when the economy is depressed. it's supposed to do that, that's the feds job. the problem is that we took away the safeguards that prevented financial abuse and the truth is that financial abuse has been pretty wide spread even when interest rates are not near. >> reporter: one of stockman's main points is that we have become addicted to debt and he says, acknowledges, that he
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himself knows because as a leveraged buyout guy, he too was addicted. >> private, yeah, but i don't think it's an addiction. financial sector has a lot of debt, but i think you need to be a little careful because it's a lot of that is just complexity, you have multiple layers and so the money gets lent several times. we actually don't have a problem with government debt, not yet but you know people are worried about the rise. and of course you can throw around big numbers, you know so the fact of the matter is that the u.s. is a $16 trillion a year economy and the numbers are not as overwhelming as they sound if you just give the raw numbers. >> reporter: but there's got to be a point at which we simply are taking on too much debt no? >> it's a long ways off to say that debt is a problem is not to say that renouncing all debt is the way you solve it and government debt-- yeah, i mean, i think that's-- i'll turn deficit and debt hawk once we're out of this depression, but not now. >> reporter: i asked david stockman so what happens next? and he says not armageddon quite, but more than even
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cruising for a bruising right? i mean that the stock market cannot sustain itself; the interest rates cannot stay this low? >> the argument is supposed to be that the fed is printing all this money to keep interest rates low, but then isn't the price of printing too much money supposed to be inflation and the fed is actually worried right now that inflation is running too low, so where's the inflation, where is the limit, you know what's unsustainable here? >> reporter: so what do you think happens next? >> i think that eventually the economy spontaneously recovers economy spontaneously recovers unless we screw it up with more and more government austerity and unless we have a really major crisis, it's a dangerous world always, but my sort of central forecast is of a slow, grudging, much too late recovery but eventually a recovery. >> reporter: now krugman does agree with stockman about crony capitalism.
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but not much else. so at the end of the interview i asked krugman why he thinks stockman's overall indictment has made such a splash. >> everybody wants economics to be a morality play everybody wants it to be a tale of sin and excess and then the punishment for sin and this notion that that we had a bubble, we had runaway stuff, we had bankers run wild, therefore the economy must suffer a sustained slump and anything you do to mitigate that is somehow enabling the sin and we will pay for it. that's... >> reporter: even though there were sins? >> even though there were sins, but economics is not a morality play. there is nothing about the fact that bankers made bad loans in 2005 that says that ordinary workers should be out of work in the year 2013, people love to write about the or talk about the lurid details of everything that went crazy in the bubble years and they don't really much like to talk about the kind of prosaic okay, but how do we get people back to work right now?
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so i think that you know the sermon aspect, you know people love to treat economics as a sermon when it's actually... it's actually just a job. you know here's this economy, how do we fix it? >> reporter: paul krugman, thank you very much. >> well thank you for having me on. >> brown: and the debate continues online. you can find much more from both paul krugman and david stockman on paul's "making sense" page. >> woodruff: we'll be back shortly with "the guns at last light" in the second world war. but first, this is pledge week on p.b.s. this break allows your public television station to ask for your support. and that support helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> brown: for those stations not taking a pledge break, we take a second look at doling out history lessons on twitter. gwen ifill has that. >> ifill: "newshour" regular michael beschloss has written eight books and countless commentaries on the american
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pleapresidency. but recently he's discovered a new way to engage a different audience-- taking us back through the nation's contemporary industry in 140 characters, or less. michael joins us now. michael, what's with the 140-character chunks? when did you start doalg out history this way? >> it's an anecdote to all the long books i write. it was during one of the debates right here in the studio we were watching, and kristina bellantony saw me looking through a search engine on the two candidates and said why don't you just go on twitter yourself? and i thought i hadn't thought about it why don't i try? >> ifill: before we show some of them, how do you come across the things you find that you've been putting up? >> i'm not only generally interested in presidential history but what images it can evoke. you see one picture, it asks a lot of questions and hope it
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gets people interested in the larger issues. >> ifill: the first picture i want to show here shows in the foreground the very familiar lyndon baines johnson-- >> that is not his third finger up there. >> ifill: that's his index finger in the air. if you see behind him, however, there is john f. kennedy. they were not very close but he is reaching over to grab him. what is going on here? >> that was taken just before the election of 1960 but you look at it, and it looks like the icon of the noon 60s, johnson aggressively getting into the vietnam war, maybe, and kennedy trying to restrain him. that's why that picture particularly touchaise nerve. what actually happened was a couple of days before the election, kennedy came to amarillo for a really with johnson. kennedy began speak ago it was at the airport-- and republican pilots began turning on their jet engines to drown out kennedy. johnson was furious, and you can see him going, "turn those engines off!" that is exactly what was going
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on. >> ifill: this is 1960 before they were even serving together. >> absolutely. >> ifill: perhaps they were friendlier. >> indeed. >> ifill: the next picture i was fascinated what. >> i put this out without telling what it was and one person wrote, "it's nixon celebrating his pardon by gerald ford," mean 74. it wasn't. the seconnormally see with nixo. some of the others said is this just dick nixon partying hard. >> what's interesting about it, is it goes completely against what we think of, even if we think of him partying hard, it's not quite that way. >> against type. and if that's why images like this are so arresting. nixon, it turns out, was
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absolutely delighted to have this done because five years after watergate or so, he was trying to pull himself back. he was enough of a politician to know a picture in the newspapers of his celebratin celebrating ty with the champagne on his head was worth an awful lot. >> ifill: i believe that was beer. >> it was champagne or bottled beer. >> ifill: exactly. this is the picture that first caught my attention of your tweeting as i was going through my timeline. it's very puzzling. there is bill clinton, clearly on the left, and in the center is george h.w. bush, and next to him he's shaking hands with george wall athe famous segregationist governor of alabama. and i turned it upside down trying to figure out where could this have happened where these three men were together? >> it's sort of like the kennedy and johnson. a lot of people said is this photoshopped. a lot of people who tweeted to me said this must have been photoshopped, too. first of all, george wallace is a figure out of 60s and clinton and bush out of the 80s, and
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90 so that doesn't fit. plus he was one of the worst segregationists in american history so why would they be sitting at a picnic eating lobster? the other thing is they didn't see it in terms of bush and clinton being at a picnic years before they ran against each other. why would they have been so friendly? plus bill clinton looks as if he's about 12 years old. >> ifill: bill clinton went on to kefeet george h.w. bush. and their famous relationship turned and around now refer to each other as farther and son. >> at the time, george h.w. bush was a vice president and gave a picnic for american governors. by then wallace recanted and policied for a lot of his segregationist positions. >> ifill: this was in maine. >> and he was drinking mountain due, if you look closely. >> ifill: another thing in the picture, there's a blond woman sitting next to george wallace. >> wallace is sitting in 1983
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had his third life. this is lisa during the '68 wallace campaign. there were two sirngz, one was mona, and one was lisa and he finally married her. >.>> ifill: as you look back, as you come across these images, and you come across some audio occasionally that you post and other things. do you get-- take any heart at all from the kind of reactions you're getting for people who suddenly have discovered this through you on twitter? >> i love it because what i'm trying to do is get people interested in history and get them tong about some of the larger issues, and these peoples pictures do this. you and i have talked about this-- we're living in an age where imagery in presidential politic have become all the more important and people have become pretty good at disieferg what they see in a picture and often there's a lot of meaning packed
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in there, and i hear from people about this on twitter. >> ifill: are you spending all your day scrolling for the next interesting thing to get a reaction? >> not spending all my days-- my book publisher, please note. it is an interesting sideline. since i'm not likely to write a book about political pictures, it's interesting for me to do. >> ifill: michael beschloss, thanks a lot for opening that window for us. >> my pleasure, gwen. >> woodruff: and online, history buffs are tweeting on behalf of george washington, paul revere and other historical figures. read about it on the rundown. >> brown: finally tonight, we mark june 6: d-day. ray is back with book conversation he recorded recently about world war two. >> more than had a hand in cementing u.s. status as a superpower, and created the map of the modern world ended almost 70 years ago. you coul could fill a library wh
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books about the second world war, yet historians still find new things to say and new ways to say it. award winning author just completed the third book in his "liberation" trilogy, "the guns at last light: the war in western europe, 1944-1945". and he joins me now, and, rick, if nothing else, this book is a reminder that with d-day, there was still some of the worst fighting of the war left to go. >> that's certainly true, ray. i think the horror of it is difficult to imagine seven years later. and it continues really after d-day, almost to the last gunshot. there were almost 11,000 americans killed in germany in april 1945, the last full month of the war in europe. and that's nearly as many as died in june, 1944, the month of invasion. so the bloodletting continued
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right to the end. the notion that many americans have that it was bad on the beaches and then something bad happened during the battle of the bulge in december 1944, and then it was kind of sweeping into germany and the war was essentially over is actually quite incorrect. it was bad to the very end, almost to may 8, 1945, when war in europe ended. >> suarez: terrible, ferocious, deadly fighting through northern france, through holland and belgium, and finally into the german homeland, and you bring us to one british officer who says, "why don't the silly bastards give up?" what was the german calculation in those last months when it was clear sthaikd no longer militarily prevail? >> there were several things at play. part of it is terror. hitler had a police state of the first order. and those who showed any sign of being weak-kneed faced prison or
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often summary execution. in other cases, you have to say that 80 million german germans s believed in the furor almost until the bitter end. you would see parades, for example, on hitler's birthday, april 20, 1945, in berlin, 10 days before he killed himself, of young girls, young boys too young to go into the military, carrying flags and singing patriotic songs, people cheering along the streets of a badly battered berlin at that point. the german psyche was such that they'd been heavily influence bide propaganda, and they were just generally disinclined to give up. >> suarez: rick, you also remind us that the war got deadlier as it went on because
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both sides were innovating, inventing new ways of killing the other side, practically in the last day of the war. >> that's true, ray. the lethality increases as the war goes along, and it-- it's extraordinary how brutal it is. we americans, for example, invented something called the posit fuse-- that was the code name. there was a radar sensor in the nose of an artillery shell, and it could by emanating radar signals determine when a passing plane or approaching target was just within the kill radius of the burst, and detonate shell. it was used for the first time in the battle of the bulge in december 1944. the germans called it pure manslaughter. it was part and parcel of a generation of weapons that came along-- napalm used for the first time around this time. germans had invented the v-1 and
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v-2 flying bombs and then a ballistic missile, the v-2, with terrifying results, most of them launched against london or antwerp wdevastating results to-- with devastating results to civilians. >> suarez: we have in the final weeks and months of the war some moment where's it's hard to tell where moral authority existed, if such a thing cl longer existed. how could you tell concentration camp inmates not to rise up and kill their captors who were trying to surrender and act like normal soldiers. how could you pout trial americans who, sickened by the legislature, would just turn and around pop these guys with their sidearms, as they tried to surrender? it got nasty, brutal, and frightening in those final weeks. >> this is true. and it's not just the final weeks, actually. there's killing of prisoners that begins early in the liberation of europe by american, british, canadian soldiers.
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and, of course, by the germans. it intensifies during that last 11 months from normandy on. but when you get to the camp liberation phase, particularly in april 1945, for example, at dachau, american soldiers coming into this camp, tens of thousands of emaciated, horribly treated prisoners, and thousands of bodies lying around, and there were soldiers that went on a rampage. there were at least a couple dozen ss guards who are surrendered and been taken into custody who were murdered. probably more than that. this is at the same time where there are liberated inmates rampaging, tearing literally some camp guards limb from limb. there was an investigation. the investigators found, ythere had been prisoners murdered by american soldiers. nothing was ever done of it. no one really had the stomach to prosecute american soldiers under these circumstances.
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this is just one example of many, though, of the barbarity that war unleasheses in otherwise good soldiers. >> suarez: i want to continue this conversation with you online. the book is "the guns at last light." rick atkinson, thanks a lot. >> thank you, ray. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: white house officials defended efforts to collect a massive log of phone records from millions of americans, in a bid to head off terror plots. a top official at the i.r.s. apologized for a 2010 conference that cost more than $4 million. and the first tropical storm of >> brown: president obama meets with china's president xi jinping tomorrow. what issues will dominate their discussions? kwame holman tell us more. >> holman: examine u.s.-china and following the announcement of a proposal to bring high speed broadband to nearly every american school, take a second look at our story about how a
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north carolina school district is ahead of the curve on using technology in the classroom. all that and more is on our website jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> more than two years ago, the people of b.p. made a commitment to the gulf. and everyday since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we shared what we've learned so that we can all produce energy more safely. b.p. is also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. >> i want to make things more secure. >> i want to treat more dogs. >> our business needs more cases. >> where do you want to take your business? >> i need help selling art.
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